Fall 2023 Newsletter


Summit ESC has recently had the privilege of being awarded several grants. As you explore the following, you’ll learn about some new opportunities and about the exciting things in store for the future: 

Peg’s Foundation Grant:

What is it?

Introduced at the end of last school year, Summit ESC and Peg’s Foundation announced a new partnership to develop a county-wide system of Behavioral Health and Wellness Coordinators (BHWC) for proactive prevention and early intervention for middle school and high school students in Summit County.

Over the summer, Coventry Locals Schools and Tallmadge City Schools piloted this new system. Behavioral Health and Wellness Coordinators — Erin Pavlik and Shari Brustoski, respectively — received initial training on the Student Assistance Program model from the Ohio School Wellness Initiative. This instruction provided them with the knowledge and resources needed to implement Student Assistance Programs (SAPs) in their respective districts. 

Utilizing funding from the grant, these two districts — along with Summit ESC — partnered with Panorama Education to conduct universal screenings of students to identify which individuals might benefit from the Student Assistance Program. This data will ensure that all students receive the aid they need. Both school districts are planning to deliver their first survey for students this fall.

Who does it benefit?

All students who are served by Summit ESC!

Ohio Attorney General’s School/Law Enforcement Technology Linking Safety Grant:

What is it?

This $20,000 grant allows for the implementation of networked security cameras — improving the safety and security of students and staff at KIDS FIRST, Summit ESC’s program for students with medium to severe levels of autism. 

These cameras will provide 24/7 surveillance of the school entrances, hallways, common areas, playgrounds, and parking lots. School officials and local emergency response teams will be able to access the footage even when offsite and have the ability to quickly and easily share recorded video with any appropriate party.

Who does it benefit?

Primarily the students and staff at KIDS FIRST — and, by extension, each of the

school districts that have students at that school.

Future Forward Ohio Grant:

What is it?

The Ohio Personalized Learning Network, which is a subcategory created and funded by the Future Forward Ohio Grant. This grant-funded professional learning program supports Ohio educators, schools, and districts working to create learner-centered systems — from the classroom to the district level.

The Network provides grant-funded:

  • Professional learning opportunities available to all educators, schools, and districts.

  • Dedicated region-based Ohio Personalized Learning Specialists to provide support along the way.

  • Customized support based on district or school needs or focus.

Who does it benefit?

NE Ohio and Greater-Ohio educators, schools, districts — and, ultimately, our students!

Transitional Work Grant (TWG):

What is it?

Accredited by the Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC), the TWG program is designed to help injured workers remain at work or return to work through transitional work. Returning an injured worker to the job as soon as possible and as safely as possible before he or she is 100% recovered lowers our workers’ comp costs and improves our bottom line.

Who does it benefit?

Both employer and recovering employee! The program uses real job-related tasks to accommodate a worker’s abilities for a specified period of time and then gradually returns them to their original duties. Employers who have a TWG Program can earn a potential 10% premium rebate applicable to claims with dates of injury within that policy year.

Other key details:

Based on our employee count, we were approved for up to $6,300. We are currently working with Work Injury Solutions to develop Transitional Work Program policies and procedures, as well as conducting job analyses for specific positions. A Transitional Work Committee will be trained by Work Injury Solutions to monitor the program. This program will be sent to the BWC for approval and then we will begin!


We are so grateful for these grant-funded opportunities here at Summit ESC, and we look forward to reaping the benefits right alongside YOU!


Join us in welcoming several new individuals to the Pupil Service Department team! 

We’re pleased to introduce you to new staff members … and at the same time, you can also learn about their positions and responsibilities and how they might be of interest to you!

  • Classroom Assistant: Give students added educational support and instruction, allowing the lead teacher in charge to focus more time on classroom instruction. Ease the workload of the lead teacher by helping out with everyday classroom tasks, such as grading homework or taking attendance. Provide extra support or instruction to students, or work with students one-on-one. Our new preschool classroom assistants are:

    • Alyssa Campbel

    • Brandy Goodman

    • Carly Gazafy

    • Heather Whitfield

    • Jessica Fox

    • Kelly Coss

    • Sherri Dennison

  • Intervention Specialist: Employ special educational strategies or techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory- and perceptual-motor skills, language, cognition, or memory. Teach socially acceptable behavior, employing behavior modification or positive reinforcement techniques. Communicate nonverbally with children to provide them with comfort, encouragement, or positive reinforcement. Our new preschool and early education intervention specialists are:

    • Candice Lanse

    • Maryanne Ratka

  • Floating Teacher: In charge of teaching in various rooms and buildings, preparing lesson plans and coursework assessments, grading the students’ papers, facilitating discussions, and monitoring the students’ progress, assisting them when necessary. Our new preschool floating teacher is:

    • Sydney Dyke

We are confident each of you will bring excellence to your new position.

If you’re interested in learning more about any of these roles and how you can join our growing team, contact Director of Pupil Services Brooke Pillets at [email protected]g or 330-945-5600 x 513917!

Congratulations to Andrea Novicky, High School/Junior High Technology teacher from Springfield Local School District, on making it all the way to the semi-finals as a nominee for the 2023 Teacher of the Year Award! We are proud to have her as part of the districts we serve.

Congratulations to the 2023 winner, Mark Lowerie, of Gahanna Lincoln High School in Franklin County.

There are so many super-star teachers within the districts served by Summit ESC. We see you and thank you for the life-long impact you make on your students every day!

We are excited to introduce you to Zach Miley, our new Coordinator of Wellness Initiatives!

As the Wellness Initiatives Coordinator at Summit ESC, Zach’s role is to oversee and implement various wellness programs and initiatives aimed at promoting the overall well-being of students and educators across our member districts. He will work closely with districts to assess the wellness needs of the school community and develop targeted programs to address those needs.

Zach says he is most looking forward to “the privilege and opportunity to collaborate with other educators to improve the well-being of our collective education community.”

The belief that students’ academic success is directly dependent upon the needs of the whole child being met is at the center of Zach’s work. He also acknowledges the importance of providing support for the wellbeing of their educators:


“As an innovator, I’m excited about generating new ideas and implementing creative programming to support these goals.”

Zach’s background is both varied and well suited for this position. His impressive resume includes: 

  • Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Human Services,

  • Master’s Degree in Social Work,

  • Completion of the Principal Preparation Certificate Program at the American College of Education,

  • Licensed Social Worker, 

  • Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor, and 

  • Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant. 

He worked as the Student Wellness Coordinator for two years at Nordonia Hills City Schools before transitioning into this position at the ESC. 

Outside of this new role, Zach enjoys spending time with his wife, Jess, and their two boys, Aiden and Grayson. He says he also enjoys relaxing and watching football on Sundays, “despite the stress the Browns may cause.”

You may be surprised to learn Zach worked for the Cleveland Guardians in 2008 as the Mustard Hot Dog mascot. Yes, the one who runs the race at the end of the fifth inning around the warning track! 

When asked how his friends and family might describe him, Zach says, “I think they would describe me as hardworking, dedicated, and caring. I would ask them why they didn’t include ‘hilariously funny,’ and they would stare blankly.”

Join us in giving Zach a warm welcome as he joins the Summit ESC community! 

Over the past decade, Algebra 2 has often been touted as a critical gateway to college and career readiness. Since only 10% of college majors require Calculus, Algebra 2 does not meet the needs of all students.

Since Ohio is committed to preparing each and every student for success, an evaluation of high school mathematics course offerings has recently led to the incorporation of Math Pathways …

  • The Mathematical Modeling and Reasoning course emphasizes thinking and reasoning more than symbolic manipulation. Rigor is more about clear and concise communication of the reasoning behind decisions.

  • In addition,Quantitative Reasoning within the course exists at the intersection of Real World Contexts, Critical Thinking, and Mathematics. 

Summit ESC’s math consultant, Steve Miller, serves as the Lead Facilitator for Ohio’s Quantitative Reasoning Pathway. Over the past six years, Steve has led a team that developed lessons, provided professional development, and implemented the course in districts across Ohio.

Currently over 230 districts statewide have decided to implement Mathematical Modeling and Reasoning, which includes approximately 465 teachers and 15,000 students.

So far, the response has been so well-received, and so successful for students themselves, that individuals in other states are interested as well!

  1. As a result, Steve had traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to conduct a four-day training for their mathematics staff. 

  2. In addition, the Oregon Department of Education held a state-wide Summit and invited Steve to present Ohio’s course to teachers in Oregon! There are a half dozen schools in Oregon teaching the course this year with many others interested in adding the course in the future.

It’s such a pleasure seeing so many schools, educators, and students benefiting from Steve’s team’s efforts … and if you’re interested in learning more about it, let us know! Simply contact Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Corey Hoynacke, at [email protected] or by calling 330-945-5600 x 513922.

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